The Leap of Faith team is full by December. Thirty climbers were now committed to an adventure to climb Kilimanjaro including people with MS, PD and several companion climbers. Lori had added six people including two with PD, their spouses and Monique and I. I was so very happy to be part of something so different and something that would certainly change my life. I wasn't sure how well I would acclimatize but I would train harder than ever.
All climbers completed a bio for Lori to both send to the group and post on her website. Empowerment Through Adventure Lori emailed us qualities that she had gleaned from our bios. No one has ever read my bio and then taken the time to return such insightful and encouraging words. Lori is a true leader.
We learned about each other through the bios and photos. Lori's climb was very unique in that she combined a companion climber with a climber that had either MS or PD. The companion climber was a source of support before the climb and also while we were on the mountain. I have never heard of a expedition leader setting up a climb this way but it was a great idea. Climbers would get to know each other before arriving in Africa and have someone to hang out with, tent with and talk to. This is very important for internal communication within the team as a lot of symptoms of MS and PD are not always obvious. Having a companion that you can talk with while in a foreign country and climbing a mountain was a comfort not usually experienced on big climbs. Guided climbs are usually filled with strangers with one goal in mind - the summit. This climb would be different in so many ways. We would benefit from Lori's insight into both having a neurological condition, climbing, and this new approach to expeditions.
We also secured a date for Lori's speaking event that would be held at the Mountaineer's conference center in Seattle on January 22, 2011. This was very exciting to bring someone to Seattle that had accomplished so much in her own life and who also had a gift to share her inspiration with others. We planned to launch the Virtual Team community exercise program after Lori's motivational presentation. We partnered with the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation to make the Virtual Team a reality. Monique is their medical director and she maintains their online wellness website. NWPF Wellness Center
The days start to fly by with July fast approaching. We increase our training intensity and plan some training outings with John and Nan for January. We are learning more about the team which is humbling as we start to read about the amazing men and women. I still haven't heard back from the sponsor proposals so I send off emails to see where we stand with sponsorship. Then we start to hear rumblings about a potential political snag with one of my biggest hopefuls for funds. Humph! More about this later.